Talk:Children, Schools and Families Bill/Wish-list for Amendments

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Exam Fees

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This one has been suggested by several people. I put it in with a suggested limit so that HE children get equal treatment with schoolchildren. In my day I think parents had to pay for re-sits, and I remember mine having to pay for me to sit an extra O-level above the standard eight that was the normal maximum in those data. Llondel 13:16, 9 January 2010 (UTC)Reply

Promotion of Home Education

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This one I took off the BRAG list and put on here. Given that the LA seems to want to give our children every opportunity to say they'd rather go to school, it only seems reasonable that other parents and children be aware that they don't have to use the school system. Llondel 13:16, 9 January 2010 (UTC)Reply

Edited to add the bit about contact information for local and national groups. Might need to have something in there as to how a local or national group is defined, given that some are formally registered as charities and others are very ad-hoc mutual support groups. Llondel 16:43, 9 January 2010 (UTC)Reply

Provision of Information

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Following on from above, give LAs a duty to be accurate Llondel 16:36, 9 January 2010 (UTC)Reply

Quoting of Legislation

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This one is an attempt to reduce the bullying by inspectors seen in some parts of the country. If they were required by law to provide the text of the relevant piece of legislation they were claiming existed then perhaps it would reduce unpleasant inspection occurrences. Llondel 13:16, 9 January 2010 (UTC)Reply

I see where this is coming from but could it backfire if Govnt do as Sel Comm recommended and produce statement of Children Acts and other legislation and their relevance to home education? Because they will get it wrong. Or if LA chooses to refer to some rubbishy piece of statutory guidance such as the one for section 10 or some bad upcoming revisions for Working Together to Safeguard Children. They won't stick to Queensberry rules and only quote primary legislation and they've drafted the Bill to permit much more to be introduced "by regulation".

Sorry! Fiona Nicholson, Education Otherwise

The Right to Home Educate

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This one from Imran, providing that a child can be educated otherwise than at school unless there's a really good reason why not. Llondel 16:36, 9 January 2010 (UTC)Reply

"providing that a child can be educated otherwise" ... so who decides this condition has been met and how? Isn't this an invitation to inspection and testng?

Annette Education Otherwise

Equal Opportunities

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Another one from Imran, to allow home educated children the opportunity to take advantage of any concessionary rates and facilities offered by local authorities to schoolchildren. Llondel 16:36, 9 January 2010 (UTC)Reply

This could be tied in with the Equalities Bill currently going through the Lords.

Fiona Nicholson Education Otherwise


Wouldn't this imply means testing to determine eligability? "The Government today published details about how the socio-economic duty, a key part of the Equality Bill, will transform the way public bodies work to narrow the gaps between rich and poor and make society fairer."

Annette EO82.38.193.176 23:13, 10 January 2010 (UTC)Reply

Training of Inspectors

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One of the complaints about inspectors is that while some of them are very good, others appear to arrive with a set of pre-conceived ideas about how education at home should be conducted, usually considering that it should be like school at home. With the wide range of educational approaches adopted, inspectors should be trained to understand the range and to be able to competently assess each case in its merits rather than using their own prejudices. Proper training and reviews would also help provide a consistent approach across the country instead of the postcode lottery that currently exists. Llondel 16:53, 9 January 2010 (UTC)Reply


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I'm not clear whether some of these amendments are intended to provoke discussion in parliament but not get voted through or whether they are mitigation/damage limitation.

I'm very worried that a quick skim of amendments wish list might make it look as though the Bill just needed tweaking ie to add funding for support eg exams to the pre-existing proposals for licensing.

Which I presume is NOT the intention?

Sorry again to be a downer.

Fiona Nicholson Education Otherwise

I am absolutely in agreement with Fiona's comments above. Surely all that is needed is for clause 26 to be removed, home educators have no interest in 'tweaking' absurd proposals which should not be there in the first place. The proper place for clause 26 is in the bin - we don't want monitoring and registration, do we?!!! Proposed amendment to the bill - 'remove clause 26 in full'.

Pam 14:58, 10 January 2010 (UTC)

That one is implied, that we want the whole thing removed, and several opposition politicians have agreed in public. However, if they spend five minutes discussing it in committee and vote to keep it, that doesn't delay the Bill much. The objective of all the amendments is to force debate and to highlight that if it gets to the wash-up prior to the election, the home education provision is controversial and the Opposition will therefore not agree to put it through on the nod, at which point it will be dropped to allow the non-controversial parts of the Bill to go through. Unfortunately it's all a complicated game with obscure rules, and we're doing our best to learn said rules while not screwing it up. Llondel 21:40, 10 January 2010 (UTC)Reply

I think there is great danger in not having a very simple message - mine would be - the present framework is adequate though poorly understood and badly implemented. Clause 26 does not provide a way forward- it needs binning.

There was a time when you could table lots of amendments which would cause the Bill to run out of time and so be lost - of course that is not the case any more.

Hope this works -first time I have tried to Wiki!

Annette Education Otherwise 22:11, 10 January 2010 (UTC)Reply

Annette, why do you say "of course that is not the case any more"? Do you think there is no possibility that this Bill will run out of time? As I understand it, the government cannot artificially limit the length of debate in the Lords.

What do you think about David's arguments for putting lots of amendments, in order to highlight the general unpopularity and inadequacy of the HE bits of the Bill? Do you know that the amendments on the wish list are not the only ones being proposed on this wiki? There are at least two full sets of amendments to Schedule 1, which would undermine the whole principle of compulsory registration and monitoring, and remove the nasty SAO provisions in the current Bill. Danigreenhouse 08:21, 12 January 2010 (UTC)Reply

Hi AT one time it was possible to overload the House of Commons with amendments and talk the Bill out as it ran out of time- Labour changed this and put time limits on debate.

We have to do all the awareness raising - without it yesterdays debate could have been over well before the 10 o clock deadline - and it means the issues are aired and debated.

I think our only hope has always been the general election timing really - Labour have a big majority and few are likely to defy the whips. Maybe the biggest danger is the wash up where we could have been overlooked.

My concern is that amendments may make people think it is fixable - when I don't think it is- this is no basis for going forward so best if it fell.

Whoever is in power after the election will revisit this if it doesn't go through - we wont keep the status quo. A new start from scratch would I think come up with something less bad.

And yes - still all the Lords stages to go through yet too.

Annette EOGPG82.38.193.176 12:05, 12 January 2010 (UTC) was no one else alarmed by this from David Laws? "I hope that the Secretary of State is willing to take those proposals seriously. Outside the Committee's proceedings, we would be willing to take part in cross-party talks with himself and the hon. Member for Surrey Heath if that is necessary to try to reach an agreement on proposals that could command cross-party support."Reply

Annette ( who has no idea why some of my last post is in a box- first try at wikkis

Annette EO GPG82.38.193.176 12:11, 12 January 2010 (UTC)Reply

Hi Annette, I was seriously discouraged by David Laws willingness to do a behind-closed-doors deal. I think we need to get onto our MPs again and state that this is not acceptable (and other things). I, also, am worried that amendments may be cherry-picked. My present thinking is that we need to stand-by ditching clause 26 entirely, and focus all our proposed amendments on tidying up current legislation as it relates to HE'd children eg. amend the "children missing education" legislation so that HE'd children aren't caught up in that net. Also, to suggest amendments to provide all those goodies E Balls promised and are not showing any signs of turning up, amendments to say how a LA should treat HEing parents, etc. Rose 22:35, 12 January 2010 (UTC)Reply

Where are the other amendments? Are they on the wiki? I am very scared about "sets" of amendments because there is no guarantee as Dave has said that the Committee or the Govnt is obliged to take a set in entirety. They could reverse cherry pick, whatever the expression is! FionaNicholson 09:56, 12 January 2010 (UTC) Fiona Nicholson, Education Otherwise ( not sure how to timestamp, seems to be to do with tildes?)Reply

Yes they are on this wiki - Go back to the main page on the Bill and look at all the amendments to bits of Schedule 1, listed just above this wish-list page. I don't know what is the right thing to do, and I absolutely share your concern that we don't give the impression we are happy to accept a watered down version of Schedule 1, but I can also see the argument that amendments give the Lords something to debate, and that a delay in the Lords is our only hope of this Bill not going through. 13:02, 12 January 2010 (UTC)Reply

These are amendments for the Lords?

Fiona FionaNicholson 19:34, 12 January 2010 (UTC)Reply

Someone said "Yes they are on this wiki". I think I've seen other proposed amendments which aren't here on the wiki for discussion. FionaNicholson 09:04, 13 January 2010 (UTC) Fiona ( incidentally on my keyboard I can press shift # four times for tilde and get auto sign in without my IP as it says at the head of the page. I mean I'm surprised I was able to follow simple instructions, so they must be very simple)Reply

Sorry, that was me above, but I forgot to log in so it didn't put my name. I am increasingly concerned about us proposing any amendments at all, having heard what both Michael Gove and David Laws said in the Second Reading debate. The amendments people have suggested so far are linked from the main page at Children Schools and Families Bill. You are right, Fiona, I have also seen other amendments which are not on this wiki. I believe the authors plan to put them up here when they are finished (whatever that is). I think we need to be very clear with our MPs that any amendments are not enough for us, and will not make it OK for them to let Schedule 1 go through as part of some behind the scenes deal. Danigreenhouse 20:34, 13 January 2010 (UTC)Reply

So there are other amendments which are being passed directly to MPs without appearing here on the wiki? Are these from a group or from various individuals ? FionaNicholson 18:02, 16 January 2010 (UTC)Reply

"So now the ammendments come into play - those on wikiversity and Betsy and Karen's rewrite...... 2:54 PM Jan 11th from web" I just saw this on Twitter, probably others have seen already? FionaNicholson 22:03, 16 January 2010 (UTC)Reply

They've been uploaded as a file to the BRAG Yahoo group file area as a pdf file. I saw an earlier draft and have scanned through the latest one, which incorporates suggestions from those of us who saw the draft. It's very much a "replace Schedule 1 with this alternative" attempt, and does what my original set of amendments did but pushes the boundaries a bit further. I was creatively amending things to reduce their damage, this one just leaves out the bits we don't like, including any concept of revocation. As with what's on here, 'application' has been replaced by 'notification' to make it clear that it is a voluntary, one-way process giving the LA no wiggle room. The downside is that it's very much an either/or and so may not take long to discuss. Alternatively, it may eat up lot of discussion time as the relative merits of old and new are compared. Llondel 23:10, 16 January 2010 (UTC)Reply

Dani said the authors plan to put the amendments up here when they are finished. If the local authority were to have a new statutory duty to maintain a register it seems to me a slippery slope to say that it is quote voluntary unquote for home educators to participate. Are you saying that you would be happy for MPs to vote in favour Betsy and Karen's amendments? FionaNicholson 06:14, 17 January 2010 (UTC)Reply

Since the amendments would propose a change to current legislation, has change been agreed as preferable to maintenance of the status quo? Has it been decided and if so where that the status quo is not tenable? FionaNicholson 08:06, 17 January 2010 (UTC)Reply

I've just posted the following on the Education Otherwise support list: "I'm not convinced that MPs would put forward amendments at the Commons stage if the purpose were simply to "stimulate discussion". I understood this to be more the purpose of amendments in the Lords. I think if MPs take up amendments put forward by home educators it would be because the MPs think that what is contained in the amendments is what home educators WANT." FionaNicholson 08:18, 17 January 2010 (UTC)Reply

I have just received a Briefing Pack from the Sauer Consultancy Ltd dated 13th January. It includes amendments FionaNicholson 12:53, 17 January 2010 (UTC)Reply

Can someone please clarify?

Are these amendments from the Sauer consultancy?

'Is this the same document from Betsy which I think Betsy mentioned at APPG- or is it a different document?

'And is this a BRAG document or unrelated to BRAG??

Sorry just seem to be lots of proposed amendment lists not here on the wiki yet.I understood Graham had suggested that this wiki was set up for discussion of made me feel a bit swimmy as I haven't tried wikis before

Are there links to these documents in other parts of the wiki which I am just missing

Just trying to be sure I haven't missed something

Annette eo gpg 14:06, 17 January 2010 (UTC) 14:06, 17 January 2010 (UTC)Reply

Betsy here -- new to the wiki and a bit daunted by it but hopes this works. Because I have not been on the wiki much, I just noticed this whole string of comments. I'll try to respond, but it is very late at night (rather, early in the morning), so if I miss something I'll try to fill in later. Or send me an email to prompt me ( There is a lot of mention here of alternative amendments/Betsy and Karen's amendments/HERA amendments. Yes, I believe you all are talking about the same thing, the HERA amendments that Karen and I put together. Though this is not the Sauer Consultancy, Alison Sauer just put together a pack that includes the HERA draft. I had mentioned to Graham Stuart that we were working on some amendments, though they were not done then, and this did come up in some of the casual conversation the day of the APPG, so yes that also is the same thing but at the time it was not an existing document.

They were posted on BRAG, but we couldn't possibly speak for the 760 people on BRAG.   We did think that by posting on BRAG we could get the draft to more eyes than by putting them on the wiki.  They are not on the wiki -- we intended to put the final on the wiki, then also were concerned that, because it is a revision of the bill, with different section numbers, and because parts are interdependent, and the language is precise, that changes of parts on the wiki might change the meaning more than intended or throw the whole thing off (for instance, we received a suggestion to replace "suitable" with "missing" education, which would wholly change the meaning).  And physically I don't know how to get them here!  Makes me feel a bit "swimmy"  (good adjective for it, Annette).

Dave up there (I think it was Dave) gave a nice summary of some of the parts of the amendments. They do go beyond the Select Committee, and reject entirely large parts of Schedule 1. Part of the intent also is to state/flag issues that should be considered in legislation regarding home ed -- what does not have to be shown in home ed, the duties that LAs do not have.


Where can I find the amendments by Betsy and Karen on this wiki, please? FionaNicholson 18:42, 18 January 2010 (UTC)Reply


You said:

Do you know that the amendments on the wish list are not the only ones being proposed on this wiki? There are at least two full sets of amendments to Schedule 1, which would undermine the whole principle of compulsory registration and monitoring, and remove the nasty SAO provisions in the current Bill. Danigreenhouse

Where would I find these on this wiki please? Do you mean the ones in the resources section?

Annette eo gpg82.38.193.176 15:45, 17 January 2010 (UTC)Reply

One set is on here, it's what started all this off. They're based on something I started outlining elsewhere and Dani and I transferred them to here. If you look carefully at what's there, it potentially goes further than the existing SAO legislation because it requires a court to issue the order and they have to consider the child's best interests as part of the process. So even if your educational provision is not as good as it might be, if you can show that your child would be worse off at school, the court should come down on your side. I admit that it is very much a first draft, but I was hoping that more people would discuss the contents and propose alternatives or additions (or removals). I tried to work them to end up with something similar to what we have now, possibly tightening it up to make it clear to LAs what they can and can't do, but trying to end up with something that didn't significantly disturb the status quo if it got through. We already have a registration scheme - it has a semi-voluntary aspect in that you can opt to be on it if they don't know you exist, but for those who deregister from school, they're on it whether they want to be or not. It did occur to me that if my stuff were to get through, the people already known to the LA but who do not notify them under the new scheme are then in an interesting position because technically they should not be on the register at that point and so shouldn't be hassled by inspectors. Llondel 21:15, 17 January 2010 (UTC)Reply

Local Home Education Boards

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This proposal is with regard to Badman's consultative forums and an effort to not only give HEers a voice at LA level, but to give us teeth. The precedent for this is the school 'parent governor' and the list of duties are mostly based on what school governors do. Rose 22:32, 11 January 2010 (UTC)

Insert new suggestions here

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(i) 19G sets up an appeals tribunal to hear disputes about registration, and 19G(2)(e) authorises the making of regulations about 'matters to whih regard is to be had in considering an appeal'. A tribunal should be independent, and not take guidance from a government department. Excise (2)(e) and insert 'independent' before 'person or body' in 2(c). (ii) 19 C(4(b)to (d)- requiring home educators to provide 'prescribed' information in a 'prescribed' form. Poetentially oppressive, both in terms of the burden on home educators and also because the information they ask for might be based on an educational philosophy the home educator doesn't agree with. This could be amended to a duty to provide 'such information as might reasonably be required' to indicate the nature of the home education (and leaving the coutst to decide what is 'reasonable')

dan morgan -- 21:52, 12 January 2010 (UTC) Add new sections above here with a note on the reasons behind the suggestion so that people can easily comment. Llondel 13:16, 9 January 2010 (UTC)Reply

I can't find the link to the main page, so I've not looked at the complete list of amendments. But some of the suggestions made on this page don't really seem to be amendments as such. The committee stage is a fairly narrow process of going through the bill clause by clause and 'fine-tuning' it, and committee members can't introduce new ideas willy-nilly which have not been voted on at second reading. Any proposed amendment must refer specifically to a clause or sub-clause of the Schedule, and suggest a modification, insertion of a word, or excision, or in exceptional cases the addition of a subclause. My two suggestions above are examples of what I mean.

I think there are certain technical rules about the language to be used in bills, and ideally we should have legal advice from people experienced in draughting or interpreting legislation. Perhaps a bit late for the Commons committee stage, though there will be a committee stage (of the whole House) in the Lords. In the meantime we could do our best and suggest amendments that sympathetic Commons Committee members might put forward.

I see no incompatibility between a campaign to bin the bill and the tactic of proposing amendments. In terms of public perceptions, amendments are technical and not high profile. And surely M.P.'s and others are bright enough to see that an amendments tactic is just an insurance policy, so that if a completely unacceptable bill is pushed through it will be slightly less oppressive than it would otherwise have beeen. dan morgan

Sorry! - I've just got on to the wiki site and seen the list of amendments - far more radical than the couple I proposed. I suppose a political calculation has to be made about how radical a proposed amendment can be and yet still have a chance of being adopted. dan

Interesting that you think them radical - I was trying to start off with a mild set for practice and then move on to more radical ones Llondel 10:25, 18 January 2010 (UTC)Reply

I keep walking around an idea for an amendment - I haven't spotted a down side to it yet ,either under the present regime or in the event that some version of this Bill is adopted

It would say that Local Authorities have a DUTY to inform \ALL parents on an annual basis of the option of home education and the Law and responsibilities associated with such a decision.

This is not done routinely now - in fact I get the impression that some LA would prefer it not to be more widely known.

Particularly if there is compulsory registration with consequences for non registration I think this would be a necessary amendment

Annette EO GPG 13:46, 17 January 2010 (UTC)Reply

Only informing when the child becomes of compulsory school age would not be sufficient as we know children are de registered at all ages.

Not now sure about this final sentence -( must get something else done now)

Maybe replace "on an annual basis" with "when children attain the age for compulsory education"

Annette EOGPG82.38.193.176 14:23, 17 January 2010 (UTC)Reply

How about free eye tests post 16 for home educated young people. Also what about Education Maintenance Allowance for home educated young people? Sorry, not relevant to other amendments being discussed but it's extremely annoying that we are excluded. FionaNicholson 17:09, 17 January 2010 (UTC)Reply

Sadly, this is the sort of theing they'd come back and say "ah, but if you were all properly registered then we could look at including you all on such schemes". Then they'd use a Nelsonian eye to look and we'd end up registered for no benefit. Llondel 10:25, 18 January 2010 (UTC)Yep, true. And there'd still be a catch. But they do it in Scotland without a big stick, although obviously you register for the EMA itself. I've been researching how many EMAs are currently awarded to home educated young people in Scotland. I will have all the FOIs back by the end of January. FionaNicholson 18:39, 18 January 2010 (UTC)Reply